The PPG Science & Technology strategy focuses on five main areas:
1. Identification of breakthrough opportunities.
2. Cycle time reduction in new product/process development.
3. Enhancing the skills and capabilities of our employees.
4. Recruiting and attracting the best talent in the world.
5. Making PPG Science & Technology a preferred workplace for everyone.
Breakthrough opportunities address significant growth and are essential to PPG's growth objectives. These typically involve substantial changes in a product or process and could be disruptive to the existing value chain. Identification of such opportunities is a significant challenge and we will continue to pursue several different pathways. These include our idea bank process, internal focus groups, external tracking of new developments in high growth areas, increased contacts with academic and national laboratories, and increased involvement with start-up companies. These efforts will focus on opportunities to leverage PPG's capabilities into new applications and directions.
Relative to cycle time reduction, our external benchmarking has identified the best practices of "Fast to Market" firms and we continue to implement these through our existing Gate Process. The key elements translate into speed to market are disciplined focus, the use of cross-functional teams in the development and implementations stages, and effective project leader, and electronic information exchange and management. PPG will also more aggressively pursue the acquisition or licensing of external technologies when appropriate to gain advantage of speed.
Specific professional development plans are used to enhance the effectiveness of all our employees. There will be increased emphasis on the development of individuals that have been designated as high potential. We have designed a course to teach the elements of Sigma Logic, most appropriate to R&D, to a large portion of our staff. Our objective is to develop good researchers into outstanding experimentalists and we expect to see significant advantages in thoroughness and cycle time reduction.
Our recruiting efforts will be increased with greater emphasis on professional meetings and the Internet. These will complement the more traditional practices of campus recruiting, advertisements and specific talent searches through agencies. We will continuously search for outstanding talent and bring this talent into our organization when we find it.
It is critical that PPG Science & Technology be viewed as a desirable workplace in order to retain our talented employees. Recommendations of the R&D Diversity council will be implemented and are currently developing action plans from a recently completed climate survey.